5G-Enabled Personal Computers:
Competitive Intelligence Report

May 2020 | 60 pages

The seven brands of 5G-enabled PCs and how they stack up

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What’s included:

The factors responsible for an increased demand for cellular-enabled PCs and the key strategies for enabling 4G-connected PCs.

Opportunities for PC manufacturers in the always-on connected systems market

The drivers, market limitations, and technical challenges associated with the adoption and development of 5G-enabled PCs

Frontrunners and other contenders in the 5G-enabled PC market with their near-term and long-term market entry plans

The key 5G technology enablers for PCs, and how they affect the dynamics of the enterprise operations

The benefits that 5G-enabled PCs can provide for enterprise users

Key patent publications mapped to cellular-enabled PCs that are either commercialized or under development

Key strategies and roadmaps for the commercial availability of 5G-enabled PCs from various PC OEMs

The opportunities that exist for various stakeholders in realizing 5G-enabled PCs


The infrastructure for supporting the next generation of cellular networks or 5G is being deployed at a significant pace pushing multiple sectors to assess its adoption and incorporate new product development strategies accordingly. Enterprises are transforming their digital infrastructures to accommodate the increasing number of connected devices, and to handle huge amounts of data efficiently. 5G not only meets the enterprise performance requirements but also offers flexibility to the users for a host of applications dependent on an always on connectivity solution.

Personal computers (PCs) are being used as one of the primary devices in various industries for managing productivity, and collaborative operations are expected to be vastly impacted by this trend. PC makers have already started progressively positioning their Always On, Always Connected (AOAC) PCs enabled with 5G connectivity for enterprise users.

The COVID-19 pandemic is further accelerating the digitalization initiatives for enterprises, which reinforced with automation and cloud migration strategies are pushing most of the enterprise workforce to work remotely. The enterprise users to be digitally connected is the foremost requirement to be productive and operational during this adversity, and AOAC PCs are the solution. The AOAC PCs are the building blocks to suffice the requirements of future enterprises and 5G-enabled AOAC PCs are a natural evolution as the technology matures.

1. Introduction

The section comprises an overview of AOAC PCs with a detailed analysis of the evolution in the PC market. Additionally, it provides a categorization of the cellular-enabled PCs available in the market as of May 2020.

2. Factors influencing 5G-enabled PC adoption:

The section covers various drivers and restraints in the development, deployment, and adoption of 5G-enabled PCs, and showcases different use cases enabled by them.

3. Integration challenges for 5G-enabled PCs:

The section highlights different challenges associated with integration of 5G-enabling components in PCs. The aspects of line-of sight (LOS) issues, antenna placements, component miniaturization, and signal-to-noise ratio in communication are considerably explored in the section. Additionally, we discuss how the future devices could evolve for overcoming the underlying challenges in these areas.

4. Competitive Analysis:

The section focuses on the different PC makers and their association with various processor providers, 5G modem and module developers, and RFFE manufacturers. The PC makers are broadly categorized into:

  • Frontrunners – who have announced their 5G-enabled PCs, and
  • Other contenders – who are expected to enter this domain

We also focus on patenting activities and deployment timelines of all the identified participants in 5G-enabled PC value chain. Our analysis also includes a comparative study of all the 5G-enabled PCs announced as of May 2020 for an in-depth view of the market landscape.

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1. Executive Summary

2. Research Scope

3. Introduction

  • Always-on solutions as a springboard for 4G-enabled computers
  • 5G to unlock the real potential of connected PCs

4. Factors Influencing 5G-enabled PC Adoption

  • Key drivers of 5G-enabled PC adoption in enterprises
    • Cloud computing and automation
    • Seamless connectivity
    • Fast and secure wireless network
    • eSim integration
    • Convenience
  • Adoption barriers for enterprise-centric 5G-enabled PCs
    • Need for larger capital investments
    • Competition with established Wi-Fi networks and mobile ongles
    • Health concerns
  • Use cases highlighting the significance of 5G-enabled PCs
    • Productivity as a service
    • Real-time collaboration
    • Unified digital infrastructure

5. Integration Challenges for 5G-enabled PCs

  • Antenna placements
  • Signal-to-noise ratio
  • Antenna isolation
  • Thermal management

6. Competitive Analysis

  • Frontrunners: Leading the 5G-enabled PC market
    • Lenovo
    • Dell
    • Hewlett-Packard (HP)
    • Comparison of all the 5G-enabled PCs announced (as of May 2020)
  • Other contenders in the 5G-enabled PCs domain

4. Factors Influencing 5G-enabled PC Adoption

7. Key Takeaways

  • Delay in deployment
  • New entrants in the PC ecosystem
  • Monopoly in the 5G-enabled PC modem space
  • Multi-mode and backward compatibility
  • Rare activity related to 5G in desktops
  • Role of AI spans across technical and operational parameters

8. Opportunities and Recommendations for the Key Stakeholders

  • Mobile network operators (MNOs)
    • New revenue stream
    • Data plans
    • Deployment partner
    • Geographical deployment strategy
    • Deployment partner
  • 5G modem manufacturers
    • Integrated RF and baseband solutions
    • Expanding end-device support
  • Cloud service providers and cloud-based applications

9. Concluding Remarks

10. Annexure

11. References

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Onam Prasad

Onam holds a Master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago with specialization in telecommunications. At the University of Illinois her course of study covered subjects including wireless communications, RF systems, semiconductors, networking, digital communication, etc. She was also a member of Society of Women Engineers and attended many conferences and sessions related to initiatives by women technologists and awareness of technology across diversity. Onam has research expertise in topics related to IoT, 5G, connectivity solutions, autonomous systems, RF devices, semiconductor fabrication, telecommunication equipment, ICs and Chipsets, etc. She works on custom research projects and provides technology consulting and advisory to clients on a range of aspects including creation of strategic partnerships, development and adoption of innovative or disruptive technologies, R&D and product roadmap creation, etc. by leveraging robust research approaches and methodologies that combine competitive intelligence, patent landscape, M&A, trend analysis and other important parameters. The combination of her education, expertise and professional experiences makes her one of Netscribes lead analysts in the electronics, telecom and semiconductors domains.

Faizal Shaikh

Faizal has been associated with Netscribes’ Innovation Research team since the last 3 years. He has worked on emerging technology domains including IoT connectivity solutions and management, sensing/antenna technologies for autonomous vehicles and connected cars, 5G technology trends, hardware security solutions, RF front-end for portable devices, advanced semiconductor chipsets, futuristic display technologies, etc.

His areas of interest include semiconductor fabrication and processing, networking and 5G related studies, telecommunications, display technologies, user interfaces, sensors and robotics among others. He has been actively involved in technology assessment/consulting, competitor analysis and benchmarking, and technology roadmap studies that require complete understanding of the ecosystem.

Faizal graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering with specialization in Electronics and Telecommunications from Mumbai University.

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